The first thing we know is that it is anti-state, right? Well, actually, it isn’t. “An”caps propose to privatize the state, having a system of for-hire police, courts, armies, prisons, and the like.
“Anarcho”-capitalists believe that by having a state that operates solely according to the whims of those with the wealth to hire it, they can somehow get around the whole “abolishing the state” thing that anarchism is all about.
Even if they aren’t anti-state, they are at least anti-government, surely? Again: no, at least not in any proper sense.
There are, as would be expected, numerous rules necessary to define “legitimate property”. Do ideas, stories, songs, or names count as “property”? Exactly how much labour needs to be mixed with land for it to qualify as “homesteaded”? If you find somebody’s property discarded somewhere do you have a responsibility to return it to them? The list is both endless and tedious.
These rules need to be established and enforced by someone. As we’ve already seen, the enforcement comes from a privatized state. Many of the rules have already been laid down by “anarcho”-capitalist “thinkers”, making them a government, but one whose decisions are to be enforced forever rather than updated as circumstances arise.
Not all circumstances can be foreseen, and for those there is the private law and court system mentioned earlier. According to David Friedman, people would buy laws and hire judges. The party with the most money hires the biggest police force, and the best lawyers, those with little wealth can only get lawyers who are cheap because they capitulate on everything, and those with no wealth lose before they’ve even begun. It is a system designed to ensure that those with the most wealth have complete control of the “justice” system, and with it the social decision-making powers.
But they are anti-aggression, though? No, they have the weird belief that “aggression” means “violation of property rights”. This leads them to bizarre conclusions. For example, it is “aggression” for a starving person to take an apple from a tree, but it is not aggression for the “owner” of the tree to shoot him dead for it.
By putting “property rights” above all other rights, they ensure that “property rights” are the only rights. Their “non-aggression principle” ends up being a principle that legitimizes any force that is in the interests of the property-owning class.
Whatever else they’re not, they are certainly pro-free-markets… except they’re not. Not one “anarcho”-capitalist I’ve spoken to considers capitalist interference in “free” markets to be wrong.
While they are quick to condemn the government for distorting the healthcare market by providing healthcare to those who couldn’t otherwise afford it, they don’t see a problem with capitalists making deals with suppliers and distributors to prevent access to the market.
Society providing a basic incoming to those who are not required by employers is unforgivable because it gives people an alternative to poverty wages and therefore drives wages up, but using people’s need to eat to force them to compete with each other in a wage war is perfectly acceptable.
They must be anti-taxes, though. Right? Yep, they certainly are. They despise taxes with all their hearts. As they see it, regardless of the fact that capitalists pollute, use up resources, and use the communally-provided infrastructure, they shouldn’t have to give anything to anybody.
And what about corporate regulations? Again: yes. They really don’t like it when the ruling class have their power infringed in any way. They may believe that people should live by the rules of their “superiors”, but they don’t believe the same should apply to the wealthy and powerful. Anything they wish to do in the pursuit of wealth should be permitted.
So there you have it, there are just two things that “anarcho”-capitalists really believe:
1) Taxes are bad.
2) Corporate regulations are bad.